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Visiting Scholars 2015/16

Professor Istvan Benczes, University of Budapest visited November 2015

Professor Istvan Benczes in Professor in European Political Economy and International Economics at the Faculty of Economics, Corvinus University of Budapest (CUB). His research areas cover fiscal policy in the European Union and in its member states, economic and financial crises, economic transformation and integration in CEE. 

Professor Benczes held a well-received class on globalisation to Y2 PIR students in the module Introduction to Political Economy. He also presented his research on fiscal policies in the EU at the PIR staff seminar, which was attended by staff members and MA students. Professor Benczes also had discussions with staff members on potential joint projects between LSS and the Faculty of Social Sciences at Corvinus University Budapest.

Prof. Rudi Janssens, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium visited 16-20 November 2015

Rudi Janssens studied sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). In 1995 he obtained his PhD titled 'A Boolean Approach to Attitude Measurement'. Currently he is a lecturer at the faculty of Literature and Philosophy at the VUB and senior researcher at the Brussels Information, Documentation and Research Centre (BRIO) at the Political Departement of the VUB where he is in charge of the language-sociological research segment. He mainly works on language use in multilingual and multicultural cities and the impact of language politics. He has already conducted several language surveys on language use, language shift and language and identity.

The purpose of the visit was to discuss areas for scientific cooperation around our common interest in languages in Brussels from either a sociological (Janssens) or a linguistic (Labeau) point of view. During his visit, Professor Janssens co-taught an MA seminar on languages in Brussels. His visit has also allowed Aston University to be represented at the first BSI international conference, and to be featured in a international grant application.

Dr Niels Penke, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen visited 18-24 November 2015

Dr Penke has a multi-faceted cultural studies research profile, which includes film studies and literary research. Various aspects of his scholarly work focus on areas and themes which are interlinked with research interests and teaching activities in LSS.

During his visit Dr Penke delivered a public research seminar titled "„Heimat“: A specifically German concept?" and contributed to teaching on student modules "Migrant and Transnational Cinema" and "Introduction to Film Studies". Dr Penke also particpated in CCISC and CLaRA sub group meetings.

Dr Olga Shevchenko, Williams College, Williamstown, MA, USA visited 16-21 December 2015

Dr Olga Shevchenko is distinguished sociologist working in the field of memory studies, cultural sociology and sociology of postsocialism.   She received her PhD in Sociology from The University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, USA). She has developed her professional career in such prestigious academic institutions as the Columbia University (New York, USA), European University (Budapest, Hungary) and Williams College (Williamstown, USA).  She is well known internationally for her work in visual sociology, sociology of consumption and life style, research in social memory including post-Communist nostalgia. Dr Shevchenko is currently serving as a Chairperson of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology in Williams College.

During her visit Dr Shevchenko delivered a public lecture titled: ‘Empire in the album: Soviet vernacular photography and the construction of Soviet space’. She also worked with Dr Anton Popov towards preparation of a conference panel on Memory, Politics, Affect: Rethinking Generational Transmission in Russia and Eastern Europe’ to be convened at the annual conference of the Association for Study of Nationalities held in Columbia University (New York). Dr Shevchenko and Dr Popov also worked together on a joint publication.

Prof. Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland visited 2-4 February 2016

Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow is a full professor for Translation Studies and a member of the European Society for Translation Studies (EST) and the TREC (Translation, Research, Empiricism, Cognition) research network. She is on the International Advisory Board of the refereed international journal Fachsprache - International Journal of Specialized Communication, and she has recently co-edited special issues for Target and Translation and Interpreting Studies, two key translation studies journals.

Her past and current research has focused on multilingualism, English in Switzerland, and translation processes, more specifically the cognitive ergonomics of translation. She has received a number of grants over the years, for research projects on a wide range of topics: overcoming language barriers in homecare nursing, capturing translation processes, text features and unnaturalness in non-native speaker writing, morpheme-based lexical processing of German ver-verbs, amongst others.

During her visit Prof Ehrensberger-Dow contributed to a number of taught modules in Translation Studies, held individual consultations with staff and PhD students and delivered a public lecture titled “The translator in focus: An ergonomic perspective”.

Professor Rainier Grutman, University of Ottawa, Canada, visited 14-20 February 2016

Professor Rainier Grutman is a full professor of French literature and Translation Studies (TS) at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Trained at various European universities (FNDP Namur, KU Leuven, UComplutense Madrid) before obtaining his PhD from the University of Montreal, he first studied translation theory at Leuven under the supervision of Professor José Lambert. His original training in Romanistik explains his focus on translation into and from the Romance languages (French, Spanish and Italian, but also Catalan, Galician and even Friulian). The boom in TS that brought him back to Spain, where he did some of his graduate work, to study the peculiar vogue of self-translation in dialogue and close connection with scholars working at universities from different parts of the country (UABarcelona, Vigo, León, Málaga).

During his visit Prof Grutman was keynote speaker at the “Translation and Interpreting in Multilingual Contexts” conference and worked with Dr Olga Castro on a joint publication.

Dr Anna Marie Trester, FrameWorks Institute in Washington DC, USA visited 28 February - 3 March 2016

Anna Marie Trester is an associate at a thinktank called the FrameWorks Institute in Washington DC (http:// www.frameworksinstitute.org). Prior to joining FrameWorks, she served as the Director of the MA in Language and Communication (https://mlc.linguistics.georgetown.edu) in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University, where she worked with students to apply their sociolinguistic training to professional contexts. She has taught courses at Georgetown University, Howard University, and University of Maryland, University College on topics including cross-cultural communication, language and social media, and the ethnography of communication.

Dr Trester gave practical advice to staff and students on how to best utilise social media for job search and self-promotion. The workshops were also aimed at students to develop a better understanding of the practical applicability of linguistics in real life, thus contributing to the employability agenda of the school. Her public lecture on "Linguistics Beyond Academia" attracted academics and researchers from the region allowing for Aston scholars to network and increase the university’s profile within the area of applied linguistics.

Professor Friedrich Kratochwil, European University Institute, Florence visited 13-15 April 2016

Friedrich Kratochwil studied philosophy and classics at Munich and received an MA in International Relations from Georgetown and a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton. He taught at the universities of Maryland, at Columbia (New York) and at Penn before returning as chair of International Relations to Munich, a position he also held subsequently at the European University Institute in Florence. He was editor of the European Journal of International Relations and is serving on several editorial boards, including Millennium.  Professor Kratochwil is credited with being one of the fathers of the grand theory of Social Constructivism in International Relations. His numerous monographs have contributed substantially to problematising the role of norms in International Politics. His publications address issues in the fields of International Relations, International Law and organization, and Social and Political Theory.

During his visit Prof Kratochwil gave a lunch time talk to MA/PhD students and staff on the topic of "Judgement: a conceptual sketch". He also contributed to teaching on an MA student module and held discussions with colleagues.

Virginia Yagúe, President of the Asociación de Mujeres Cineastas y de Medios Audiovisuales (CIMA), visited 14-16 April 2016

Virginia Yagúe is a writer, screenwriter and producer and has an on-going active career in television where she wrote scripts including La señora. Her most famous cinema work was writing the script for Els nens salvatges, which won the Malaga award in the screenwriting category. She combines the duties at CIMA with duties as vice-president of DAMA (Derechos de Autor de Medios Audiovisuales.) CIMA, founded in 2007, unites 200 women from the audiovisual sector (directors, producers, screenwriters, documentary filmmakers, editors, etc) with the objective of promoting an equal presence of women in media.

Ms Yagúe was one of five invited artists to the three-day conference Spanish Cinema: Gender and Ageing Studies held at Aston (14-16 April 2016). She was part of the Conference Closing Round Table.  She also attended all presentations and actively particularly in the workshop. There were film screenings in the evening of days one and two, after which she discussed the films with the public.During her visit she also met with students and staff. Along with other academics and film industry partners, we are currently planning to establish an International Research Network on Gender and Ageing in Spanish Film and Media in which academics and cultural partners are equally involved.

Prof Dr. Dr. hc. Heinrich Detering, Göttingen University visited 25–29 April 2016 

Prof Detering is widely recognised as one of the most distinguished scholars in German Studies and Comparative Literature. Since 2011, he also serves as President of the German Academy of Language & Literature (i.e. the German equivalent of the British Academy or the Académie Française). Prof Detering’s highly interdisciplinary profile includes a specialism in literary studies (particularly Thomas Mann and Günter Grass), as well as an expertise in the field of popular culture. His international reputation as a scholar has been confirmed by visiting professorships at the universities of California and Washington, DC. In 2009, he received the Leipniz Preis, the most prestigious academic award in Germany worth 2.5 million Euros. In recognition of his research on the Danish writer H.C. Andersen he was decorated as a Knight by the King of Denmark in 2013. 

Prof Detering gave guest lectures at various modules and delivered a research paper on Günter Grass. Several colleagues from CLaRA used the opportunity to engage in individual research consultation and the visit helped greatly to develop both the individual members' and collective profile of the Langauges and Literature sub-group of CLaRA.

Belen Gopegui, Spanish award-winning writer visited 14-17 March 2016

Belén Gopegui is a Spanish renowed novelist, scriptwriter and columnist. She has authored 12 fiction-novels, some of them translated into several languages including Chinese, French, Italian, Turkish, Portuguese, Polish, Finnish, Serbian and Dutch. She has also received numerous literary awards and given talks all across Europe and the Americas. Gopegui has also authored several film scripts and numerous opinion articles about social, economic and gender issues in contemporary Spain and Latin America. She is a well-known activist on gender issues and social justice.

Belen Gopegui gave a public talk entitled "Literature as Social Activism".